The world’s first mass-produced pure electric car is about to be discontinued, but it hasn’t attracted much attention. Well, it’s not a Tesla vehicle, it’s a Nissan Leaf. This car has several accolades that keep its memory alive. Some of its accolades include
- The world’s first mass-produced all-electric car
- The best-selling electric car in the world
- World Car of the Year
- European Car of the Year
In fact, Tesla could easily call this car its big brother, and that wouldn’t be far from the truth. Today, when the era of true pure electric cars is trending, it has a similar fate to Kodak and Nokia. The reason is that reforms and innovations are few and the technical path is not stable. Yes, today we are talking about the Nissan Leaf – the world’s first purely electric production car.
The Nissan Leaf is about to leave the scene
The latest news says that the Nissan Leaf will be discontinued around 2025. What kind of car is it? It launched in December 2010, when Tesla only released the Roadster, and the Model S / X / 3 / Y was not even seen. At the time, the car had a range of 175 km (under NEDC conditions) and a battery capacity of 24 kWh. The battery can be charged to 80% in about 30 minutes. The maximum output power of the engine is 80kW, the maximum torque is 280N⋅m, and the maximum speed can reach 145km/h.
It is worth mentioning that the starting price of this car was ¥2,984,250 (about $22,000 at the current exchange rate). The most powerful thing about this car is that the battery is very safe and has been approved by many institutions:
- The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the car five stars for two consecutive years at launch;
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists it as a “Top Safety Pick”
- The European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) also awarded the Leaf its highest five-star car safety rating.
Statistics show that the Leaf has sold a total of 35,000 units in Europe five years after its launch. Even with that number, the battery failure rate is still less than 0.01%. For comparison, the breakdown rate for gasoline cars is 25 times higher.
Why is the Nissan Leaf battery so safe?
The reason why it is so safe is mainly because AESC, the battery supplier behind it, has taken various measures such as improving the thermal stability of the cathode material, adding special additives to the electrolyte that make the electrode surface less susceptible to heat and increase the thermal resistance of the separator, thus reducing the risk of thermal runaway of the cell.
In addition, at the cell production level, each cell has more than 2000 data collection points. This can effectively reduce the mismatch of cells. That’s why the Nissan Leaf has long made environmental protection and energy conservation its main selling point. In 2012, it repeatedly emphasized that it “is more economical than driving a car on gas” in its advertisements. They described it this way:
Running 60 miles (about 96.6 km) costs less than £1 to drive a Leaf, but costs £6 to drive a petrol car.
As well as being a visionary, the Nissan Leaf was also honored with the ‘Green Car Vision Award’ in 2010. It beat the likes of the all-electric Ford Focus, the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen fuel cell car and the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid car.
Undoubtedly the king of electric vehicles, a real explosive product on the eve of the era of electric vehicles. But despite this, the Leaf never became a saving ticket for Nissan, and secondly, it failed to continue the myth. With the impact of Tesla and the new forces in car manufacturing, it has also become a member of the “dead” in the electric car market.
Victory at the starting line, but not the last laugh
As the king of electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf had a good time in the market at the beginning. According to reports, as of December 2019, total global sales of the Leaf were 450,000 units, making it the best-selling electric car in the world.
The reason why it sells so well can be seen from the feedback of car owners:
- At the time, there weren’t many electric vehicle models to choose from, and the Leaf was affordable and cost-effective
- No need to charge, save money and time
- The car is very convenient to park and very convenient to get to and from work
- Driving experience is easy with e-Pedal technology
From these points of view, the Nissan Leaf, as a pioneer of electric vehicles, meets only the most basic requirements for a car. Its main focus is replacing vehicles with fuel. However, as the market competition becomes fierce and there are more electric vehicle players, the situation is no longer the same.
The shortcomings of the Nissan Leaf are now more visible
There are now more models to choose from, and the Nissan Leaf is no longer the only electric car that’s easy to park. Towards the end of 2019 Tesla The Model 3 sold a total of 449,000 units, instantly taking the Leaf’s global sales crown.
Under this influence, the shortcomings of the Leaf became more pronounced:
- Mileage is too low for long distance travel
- The battery capacity is low, the thermal management of the battery is not done well
- Active battery cooling is not standard and battery performance will drop significantly after a long time
- Poor acceleration performance, unattractive functionally and aesthetically
- Fast depreciation, 80% depreciation in 5 years after purchase
- Remote OTA updates are not available
To summarize: the tri-electric system is not good enough, and the intelligence is also flawed. But still, the Nissan Leaf isn’t bad, but it already exists in a realm where there are much, much better options.
Nissan Leaf – the world’s first pure electric car to be discontinued